Monday, July 30, 2012

G+ Photo Scavenger Hunt Update 2

As I've mentioned before, I'm participating in this Google+ Photo Scavenger Hunt thingie.  It's been a good amount of fun for the wife and I, and it's given us an excuse to get out of the house and roam around doing things--even if it's just for the sake of getting a certain picture.  Here are more photos taken by my wife or myself.  I've marked them off on the list below.  By the time this post goes up, I'll have one more day left to get them in.  I probably won't get all of them, but it'll be interesting to see how many I wind up with when this is all finished and done with.

As mentioned previously, this idea was nabbed from Shaun McLane's G+ profile.  For more information, click the post I've linked to above and if it sounds like something you're interested in, join in!  All it takes is a camera.  Heck, you don't even have to use G+; you can just do this for fun if you want.  If you do it on Twitter or G+, don't forget the hashtag: #TheHunt.  Although you may want to hurry.  I mean, it's a little late in July.  What have you been doing all month lazy bones?

3. Picture of you with a firetruck in the background

Unfortunately, I couldn't get to any of the real firetrucks, and my wife said setting something on fire just to get a picture with one of them may be bad karma or something, so we settled for one of the fire department's trucks.

4. Next to a tombstone with a deceased date before 1930
 My wife and I hunted all over the cemetery for a tombstone with a deceased date that was before 1930.  There were a lot, but most of them were barely readable up close, much less on camera.  I know I look a little solemn, but I thought it might be bad form to grin like an idiot next to a reminder that death comes for us all.

8. Buy 10 cents worth of gas - take a photo of the receipt and pump showing the amount

 Not much explanation needed here.  I pumped 10 cents of gas.  I took a picture.  I had to scramble for some sort of paper to use for "#TheHunt."

15. Take your picture with an animal - preferably with an animal from a shelter, then provide the shelter details in case someone wants to adopt it
I really wanted to do this picture right, but we haven't had time to go to an animal shelter.  For the record, my dog, Sanford, is quite adorable.  My wife took this picture yesterday morning while I spoiled my dog in bed.  In lieu of actually going to the animal shelter and getting attached to an animal that I can't have, I'm going to link to Petfinder, which is awesome because you can search all of the local shelters in your area and find exactly the dog you want.  They explain which ones need love, which ones are good around kids, etc.

20. A sunset
Not much to say about this one either.  It's a sunset.  I took it when I went to hang out with my good friend, fellow blogger, and author of children's fantasy and science fiction novels Brooke Johnson (note, this blog post not sponsored by Brooke Johnson).  We played mini golf.  It was fun.  I got a hole in one!
24. A photo of you and one of your g+ friends together (not in a hangout) holding a small #TheHunt sign

 The aforementioned Brooke Johnson and I hanging out at the arcade.  Our bowling alley is awesome.  It has mini golf, go carts, an arcade, ...other...stuff...  Look it's expensive and I don't go very often.  Anyway, after the mini golf game, we hung out at the arcade.  Here's proof.

27. A logo or signboard with a star on it

I was frustrated to learn that Wal-Mart--or Walmart...or Wal (star) Mart...or however you're supposed to spell it anymore--removed the star from their logo, so we had to go hunt down a sign with all the logos to get this one, since I figured the "spark" didn't count as a star.
28. A picture of someone taking a picture
 More from the super awesome fun times with Brooke.  We decided to take a picture of each other taking pictures of each other...taking pictures of each other...taking... *headsplode*

34. A garage sale sign (must be dated)

Sign for a garage sale.  No, I didn't go.  I have nothing to sell.  Plus, it's hot as crap outside this time of year.

38. Someone hitting a golf ball behind you

 More pictures from the now infamous mini golf game/arcadeapalooza 2012.  The lady in the background started out behind us, but we were apparently insufferably slow, so we allowed them to go around.  We were so bad.  All of us.  Collectively.  Especially Brooke.

42. You standing next to a novelty mailbox (ie, shaped like a dog, shaped like a fish)

 I appears this person's mailbox was eaten by a headless fish of some sort.  You should really keep an eye out for this type of thing.  How would you not notice sticking your hand into some fishes squishy interior to retrieve your mail.  And how did the USPS not notice this?  Or did they just not care?? GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY! 

45. The inside of someone else’s refrigerator - Stick a #TheHunt post-it to something if you can

After playing mini golf and a few arcade games, we went back to Brooke's house where she let me take a picture of the inside of her fridge, because, you know, that's how we roll.  Next week she's gonna come by and take a picture of the underside of my car for funsies.
48. You playing an arcade game
 I was very excited to learn that they have Fruit Ninja as an arcade game, and it's still touch screen! And I'm still really bad at it!  But seriously, how cool is this?

50. Sitting on the ugliest piece of furniture you can find
 You might argue that this is not an ugly piece of furniture.  You'd be wrong.  Do you see that pattern?  Bleh.  I'm not much for floral print anyway, but this couch was just an assault to the eyes.  It looks less bad than it did in real life.  In real life it was like one of those magic eye puzzles.  The colors kept shifting and changing, and I was a little afraid I was going to have a seizure.
1. Find a male with a mullet and have your picture taken with him
2. You eating a donut with a police officer in uniform
3. Picture of you with a firetruck in the background
4. Next to a tombstone with a deceased date before 1930
5. Laying in a hammock
6. Getting your arm autographed by a stranger
7. Sit in between two strangers on a park bench and get them to pose with you like your best friends.
8. Buy 10 cents worth of gas - take a photo of the receipt and pump showing the amount
9. Find a sign or billboard that has your name in it and stand next to it
10. Helping a stranger fold their laundry at a Laundromat
11. Riding the pony in front of a department store
12. Find the most interesting sign you can
13. Hugging a mannequin
14. Wearing a mask
15. Take your picture with an animal - preferably with an animal from a shelter, then provide the shelter details in case someone wants to adopt it
16. Create a work of art with sidewalk chalk in a public parking lot - include #TheHunt
17. Capture your reflection in an unexpected place
18. Picture of a train
19. Picture from the highest place you can get to - try to include yourself in the shot
20. A sunset
21. A sunrise
22. A building, statue, or sign that your town is known for - Even if it’s the “welcome to ___” sign
23. Full glass of your favorite (preferably alcoholic) beverage in your hand - like a giant g+ toast
24. A photo of you and one of your g+ friends together (not in a hangout) holding a small #TheHunt sign
25. Your feet in water (beach, lake, pool, etc)
26. Take a picture while riding a ride
27. A logo or signboard with a star on it
28. A picture of someone taking a picture
29. A single french fry on a fast-food napkin, with #TheHunt written on the napkin
30. An alarmingly out of date bumper sticker
31. A house with a red door
32. Three birds on a telephone wire
33. A bug or a water droplet on a flower
34. A garage sale sign (must be dated)
35. Picture of you in front of a sign for a university or college
36. You taking a bite of a food you have never eaten before
37. A public clock reading 6:59 with #TheHunt on a post-it, stuck to the clock, or below it
38. Someone hitting a golf ball behind you
39. A sign for Karaoke
40. A road sign that is also a first name
41. A change of address form with #TheHunt written as the new address
42. You standing next to a novelty mailbox (ie, shaped like a dog, shaped like a fish)
43. Someone fishing - or YOU fishing
44. Bathroom graffiti with either a phone number, a “poem”, or involves a pun
45. The inside of someone else’s refrigerator - Stick a #TheHunt post-it to something if you can
46. 100 of something...anything
47. The saddest person you can find
48. You playing an arcade game
49. Picture of you with a Wal-Mart "greeter."
50. Sitting on the ugliest piece of furniture you can find

  26 down,  24 to go!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Batman and Bane Have a Conversation

In all seriousness, I loved the movie.  I thought Bane's voice worked really well, even.  He was menacing, intimidating, and the filter they put over his voice reminded me of Darth Vader, so that worked well.  The movie had it's flaws--the overall motivation of the villains doesn't quite make sense--but all in all it was as lean as it could possibly be, fantastic performances all around, and it was definitely a fitting end to the series, in my opinion.

But I just couldn't resist making this comic.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: PROMETHEUS Part 2

Read part 1 of my review here.

When last we met to discuss this movie, I had written many words and had not really gotten to the start of the plot.  I had problems right from the start with the way characters were introduced and characterized.  I also had problems with the way certain plot points were introduced to the audience.  However, I also mentioned that this is a movie that should be applauded for its aspirations.  Today we’re gonna get more into the actual nitty gritty.  The biggest thing that I’ll be focusing on is character behaviors in service of the plot.

With that said, let’s dive into my long delayed part II of my review.

The crew gathers together and is debriefed by the head of the corporation, and funder for this particular mission, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce in really old man make-up).  You have to wonder why Guy Pearce was cast in this role.  The make-up is okay--certainly better than the make-up at the end of Deathly Hallows, but...I can still tell it’s a young guy in old man make-up.  If you do a little bit of extra research, there was a viral marketing campaign set up online where Weyland, has a biography profile special, gives a TED talk, and all kinds of things, all as a young Weyland.  Just to note: you will never see young Weyland in the film, which returns to the question: why Guy Pearce?

Weyland, or rather a hologram of Weyland, reveals that he actually died before the expedition began and has recorded this hologram to explain as a contingency plan.  He introduces himself and David, whom he calls “like the son I never had.”  I wouldn’t bring this up, but it ties into something much later that I want to mention.  He explains that they’re looking for their creators, the originators of life on Earth, the “Engineers.”  Most of the crew are skeptical, the archaeologists defend their ideas, and everyone gets distracted when they get to the planet and stand around in amazement for a while.  It’s an Earth-like planet light years away from our solar system.  The visuals here are very impressive, and the score is fittingly epic and beautiful.  This is another moment where the film slows down and lets you bathe in the atmosphere (bad-dum TSH!).  

A scan reveals a mountain that’s hollow inside and the crew lands to check it out.

While down in the hole, Holloway decides that, since the atmosphere underground is almost exactly like Earth’s, it’s safe to take off his space helmet.  This is one of those things that you can shrug off, but as the guys from Red Letter Media pointed out, WHAT ABOUT DEADLY ALIEN MICROBES?  Just because the atmosphere is fine, doesn’t mean that there aren’t alien diseases that you don’t have to worry about.  Even if this is the future, we can’t possibly know about all of the diseases in the universe, you moron.

Meanwhile, David has been tasked by someone to leave the group and PRESS ALL OF THE BUTTONS.  In doing so, he accidentally activates hologram security footage of the previous inhabitants of this planet sprinting down the halls.  They’re clearly fleeing something dangerous.  The hologram leads them to a decapitated specimen of the very race they’ve been coming to look for.  David does his button touching thing, despite his colleagues frantically shouting at him to NOT DO THAT, and they find the alien's head on the other side of a closed door.  Inside this new room, there is a massive stone humanoid head and a bunch of urn-looking things.  

Between the dead alien, the creepy holograms, the weird stone head carving, this is all too much for Punk Rock Geologist, and he wants to head back.  Since no one’s looking at rocks, which is apparently all he cares about, he wants to go back to the ship.  Despite the alien being dead--decapitated, in fact--for more than 2,000 years, Punk Rock Geologist is terrified of it.  He’s not the only one, though.  Southern Vaguely Effeminate Biologist is also terrified, and they high-tail it back to the ship.

I guess I can maybe see the geologist getting scared.  He is a geologist.  His specialty is rocks, and unless those rocks collapse on him, there’s not a lot of danger of them killing him.  But the BIOLOGIST?  Isn’t this EXACTLY what he should be interested in?  Shouldn’t he want to examine this bizarre foreign species?

Meanwhile, the urns start leaking weird black goo stuff a little, but no one notices, except David, that is.  He steals an urn because...hell, I don’t know, he thinks it’s full of chocolate syrup?  Makes as much sense as anything else really.  Just then, everyone receives word that a big ass storm is coming that will chop them into little bits unless they high-tail it back to the ship.

This action scene is done pretty well, even if it does feel like it was thrown in there mostly because we haven’t really had an action sequence yet.  The visual effects of the storm are cool, especially the overhead shot of everyone trying to outrun the massive cloud.  

It’s only when they get back inside the ship that they realize that Biologist and Geologist didn’t come back with them.  Instead, they’ve gotten lost in the caves and are now trapped in there until the storm passes.  One quibble: when they first entered the caves, Punk Rock Geologist sent out little flying robot balls to begin making a holographic 3D map of all of the tunnels in the cave, which they beamed back to the ship.  Since Biologist and Geologist were in constant communication with the did they get lost again?  Oh, right, because the plot says so. 

It’s at this point that you should be hearing the chords to Jonathan Coulton’s “Redshirt” playing in your head because you can practically smell how dead they are.  It reeks of horror movie convention.

So, anyway, they wind up back in the room with the urns, but the black stuff has bubbled out a lot more at this point.  They stop to rest when a weird phallus shaped alien pops up out of the goo.

Remember how they were terrified of a centuries dead alien?  Suddenly, THE PLOT demands that Biologist be curious and inquisitive.  He starts creeping closer to it.  It opens flaps itself open, looking very similar to the frill-like things on the dinosaur from Jurassic Park that kills Melvin.  Does this give him pause, since any biologist worth his salt would know that opening frills is a sign of aggression--like a dog growling or a snake rattling its tail?  Nope, his reaction is, “OMG, I wanna pet it!”

No...seriously.  He tries to pet it.  It kills him.

Geologist, while trying to help his buddy, gets sprayed in the face with some acid stuff--also like the dinosaur from Jurassic Park--and falls face first into the black goo.

As I said...redshirts.

Meanwhile, back on the ship, they try to reanimate the alien’s head with electricity to study it.  I think it was to map its brain patterns or something.  That works for all of 30 seconds, then the alien’s head explodes.  So much for your amazing discovery.  Didn’t that seem like an incredibly risky operation to perform on a once-in-a-lifetime scientific find?  They also find the alien’s DNA is an EXACT MATCH FOR OUR DNA, which obviously PROVES THAT THEY CREATED US!

Wait...then why were they 8 foot tall bald albino bodybuilders?  And how does that prove anything of the sort?

Meanwhile, David plays with his stolen souvenir, digs out some black goo, and sneaks it into Holloway’s drink.  Why?  Good question.  We don’t really get any answers.  I can tell you my wife’s theory a little later on.

Holloway tries to get David to join him for a drink, but David refuses, saying, “It wouldn’t do me much good.”  Sure...except that they clearly show you eating some kind of oatmeal type food at the beginning of the movie while everyone else is in stasis sleep.  That’s not keeping up appearances--there’s no one around to see it.  It clearly won’t gum up your workings.  So...why not have a glass with Holloway?  It would make you look less suspicious--because you might as well have a sign over your head saying ‘THERE’S SOMETHING BAD IN THIS GLASS AND I WANT YOU TO DRINK IT!’

In addition to looking stupid for falling for such an obvious ruse, Holloway is bitter and resentful because they’ve presumed all of the other Albinos are dead.  He’s upset that he couldn’t ask them some deep burning questions on his mind. totally got what you wanted--”proof” that these guys created us.  You wanna know why?  Quit your bitching!  You should be walking on Cloud 9 right now!  You should be over the moon!  You should be pulling your pants down and rubbing your bare ass in Vickers’ face because you were right and she was wrong.

After this, Holloway goes to check on Shaw.  This scene demonstrates another downfall to the movie.  While the movie asks interesting questions about God and the creation of life and stuff, it just asks the questions.  There’s never any exploration of that theme.  For example, Shaw’s character is supposed to be a devout Christian.  But, beyond occasionally touching a cross she wears and a rare line of dialog, you couldn’t tell.  Her faith never seems to inform her decisions or add to her character.  Her being Christian has as much bearing on the story as learning that Sherlock Holmes’ favorite soup is chicken noodle.

Shaw and Holloway have a very brief discussion about how these aliens created mankind.  Holloway feels this disproves God’s existence.  He says, “It shows that the creation of life isn’t very special.  This shows that anyone can create life.”  Shaw’s response is to get teary eyed, put her hand to her belly, and whisper, “...I can’t create life.”

Um...WTF?  Where did that come from?  We have no indication up to this point that she’s barren.  There aren’t any lingering glances at babies or wistful stares at tiny shoes, NOTHING to hint that she might even want kids, let alone that she can’t have them.  She’s barely been characterized as a Christian, and we just suddenly learn that she’s also barren?

Let’s play a guessing game of sorts.  You tell me, why do you think they would suddenly drop the knowledge on us that Shaw is barren and can’t have kids?  Why now?  We’re, like, halfway through the movie.  You guess, and I’ll drop down some space to give you time to guess.

Did you guess that she’s about to get pregnant with something awful?  Yes?  CONGRATULATIONS!

Do I need to even explain why this is bad writing?  It’s so sloppily executed.  If they were going to go with this storyline, it should have been worked in way earlier in the movie, not 10 minutes before that information is relevant.

Shaw and Holloway have sex, and then Holloway looks into a mirror and you see something in his eye, showing that whatever David put in his drink has infected him.

They go back into the cave to look for Geologist and Biologist.  They find Biologist dead, but Geologist is nowhere to be found.  Also, black goo is leaking out of all the urns and all over the place.  Meanwhile, David is off playing explorer again and finds what might be an Albino Man in a stasis pod, and also a star-map highlighting a route to Earth.  Holloway starts to get sick, so they all rush back to the ship.  Vickers greets them at the door with a flamethrower and says she won’t let him on the ship because he might infect the rest of the crew.  Therefore, the only logical thing to do is set him on fire, which...he agrees with.  Shaw tries to stop him, but Holloway gives Vickers the go ahead and she lights his ass up like a candle.

Shaw collapses and comes to in a medical pod where they’re scanning to make sure she’s not infected with anything as well.  Shaw learns she’s pregnant...3 months pregnant.  This shocks and horrifies her, especially because David informs her that the baby isn’t human.  

She’s desperate to get the monster fetus out of her, but David wants to put her in a stasis pod until they get back to Earth.  She escapes and uses a machine to perform a self-abortion/c-section thing.  It’s a gruesome, horrifying and genuinely well done sequence.  You can feel the panic and stress Shaw must be going through, and you empathize.  Not to mention, a do-it-yourself c-section/abortion is a fittingly horrifying thing.  It feels right at home with the chestburster scene in alien.  However, it hasn't been properly built up to--it hasn't been earned.  Prometheus isn't the same type of movie as Alien, and so at the end of it all, if feels out of place and ultimately unsatisfying.  The tone and mood of the scene is off from the rest of the movies grand, open, exploration feel.

So that's part two of my review.  We're coming up on the finale of not only this review, but the movie as well. We've seen characters act incoherently, we've seen things done just for the sake of plot, and we've seen hackneyed, unoriginal plot elements introduced in such a clumsy, obvious way, first year film students would groan.  Next time, we'll see characters continue to act inexplicably, and may have possibly become psychic.  Also, one of the stupidest deaths in cinema.

Thoughts?  Opinions?  Agree?  Disagree?  Sound off in the comments.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Comic Series That Deserves To Be Made

I don't want to flood my blog with just plugs for kickstarters, but Joe Hill has been linking to this occassionally, trying to convince people to fund it, and I would really like to see it funded as well.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that recently I've been getting into comics, a thing I wasn't able to do growing up. And as someone who's interested in comics, I would love to see this comic series get made. It's a 5 issue comic series, and it sounds awesome. If you've got a little money, please consider funding this.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nerds, Assemble!

This could be our finest hour, my fellow nerds.  For so long we have put up with sub-par Hollywood movies masquerading as "nerd friendly," while also sullying our childhoods.  If you were hurt, offended, and annoyed by Michael Bay's Transformers and the god-awful Dragonball: Evolution, this is for you.

I am a gamer.  I play Dungeons and Dragon's unashamedly.  I am a big supporter of the show Tabletop, starring the indomitable Wil Wheaton.  But the thing that really got me into games was a little movie called The Gamers: Dorkness Rising.  I got it in on Netflix back when I was in college and fell in love.  It was a micro-budget, very cheesy, and very heartfelt love letter to gaming.  It was about a group of friends that get together weekly and play D&D, and the journeys that not only their characters go through, but the players as well.  It's fun, funny, and sweet.

They're making a sequel.

I'm calling upon my legions of fans and supporters--all 12 of you!--to say:  Make this happen!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Obligatory Comic-Con 2012 Post

As some of you may recall, I wrote a post that included my thoughts on the news of various movies coming out of Comic-Con last year.  Just for the sake of completeness, I'll include a short update on that post.  Don't worry, it'll be fast.

Snow White and the Huntsman - Didn't see it.  Still looks meh.

Ghost Rider 2 - Didn't see it.  Opinion still stands: "why?"

Fright Night - Less awesome than I was expecting.  David Tennant did well, but the rest was bland, bordering on bad at times.  They tried to make Colin Farrell eating an apple menacing.

Total Recall - Reaction remains largely the same, even with trailers out now: "why?"

Spider-man - Awesome.  Go see it.

Prometheus - Review Part 2 coming soon.

Twixt, Paradise Lost, Uglies, Jurassic Park 4 - I've heard no news. Reaction stands.

So, onto this year's Comic-Con.

Oz the Great and Powerful

On the one hand, this movie looks kind of interesting.  It's an origin story for the man who becomes the Wizard of Oz--how he wound up in Oz by way of hot-air balloon.  And I admit, it certainly looks epic and action packed, and the score in the trailer is certainly interesting.  I really liked how they carried over the idea of our world being in black-and-white from the MGM movie.  And while I've read that Dorothy's iconic red slippers won't be making an appearance, I'm okay with that because they were silver in the book anyway.

With all of that being said, it's from the producers of Alice in Wonderland, and you can tell.  Everything has that soft-pastel colors look that makes it look colorful and washed-out at the same time, and while I read online that there were a lot of practical (read: "real") sets, a lot of it still looks CG, with a lot of superfluous 3D.*

For the record, I have a very similar problem with some of the effects in The Amazing Spider-man.

Anyway, my feelings are "meh."  Intrigue about the story and my fondness for Sam Raimi are conflicted with the actual look and style of the movie.

Resident Evil: Retribution

I hate the Resident Evil movies.  They're basically long action sequences with no story.  I stopped caring after the second movie and stopped watching during the third.  I only list this here to say, "Hey...this exists."  Now imagine me making a fart noise with my mouth: "Phrrrrrbbbbbbbbtttt."

I also include it so that you can read this humorous account of a fan sexually propositioning Michelle Rodriguez.  To those you out there who don't know:  Do. Not. Do. This.


I watched a lot of the old Godzilla movies growing up, including Godzilla vs. King Kong.  I even liked the remake starring Matthew Broderick, although I was in middle school and not what you would call "picky" about my movie choices.  But to hear that this movie is not only going to be a serious take on Godzilla, but that it seems to have support from Toho, seems to be paying an homage to the old movies, as well as treating the franchise with a certain amount of respect...color me intrigued.  Plus, David Goyer has proven himself time and again to be a great writer of movies.

The Hobbit

It should be no surprise that I'm excited about this movie.  I am a huge nerd.  I loved the first three movies, and I'm stoked for this one.  It is the one movie this year that I might see at midnight.  Maaaaybe not, because I'm an old man deep down inside and don't want to be jostled by overly excited teens and such...but I also love The Hobbit more than any of the other books.  It was the first of them I read--in the 6th-ish grade.

I'm very glad that Ian McKellan came back as Gandalf, and Martin Freeman is an excellent choice for Bilbo Baggins.  Also, even though it won't be in this movie, Bennedict Cumberbatch as Smaug has me very excited.  I have high hopes for this movie.

One thing that's weird to me is the backlash against it being filmed in 48 fps instead of the traditional 24 fps.  I like the smoother, hyper-real look 48 fps gives it, and I would rather see that become a thing than 3D.  Why people choose some advancements in film making and not others, I'll never understand.  Anyway, it should be expected that I'm excited for this one.

Pacific Rim

This is Guillermo Del Toro's movie about giant fighting robots I mentioned last year.  I maintain that it could be a dream come true for the 10-year-old inside of me, but as time has progressed, I'm a little worried.  I'm weary of high-effects-CG-laden movies.  Transformers: Blah Blah Blah and the disappointing Real Steel have cooled my initial reaction at giant fighting robots, and Del Toro's largely disappointing Don't Be Afraid of the Dark has me less excited for PR than I started.

It still sounds fun, and I love Pan's Labrynth and Hellboy, so I'll maintain a modicum of hope for now.  Plus, Idris Elba is in it, and he was one of my favorite things about Prometheus.

Incidentally, Del Toro is finally looking into making Hellboy 3, which makes me want to get up and race around the house with excitement.  Fingers crossed on that one.

Various Marvelousness

Things continue to look up for Marvel.  Besides the massive hit that was The Avengers, basically all of their movies have been pretty big hits, with a few exceptions.  The Amazing Spider-man has been doing pretty well, even, despite some of the negativity surrounding yet another reboot.  Because there was so much news coming out of the Marvel camp, I've shoved it all in this section.

Captain America: Winter Soldier was announced.  I liked the first film, and this one certainly seems interesting.  From what I read here, it seems to be about a former friend of Captain America being resurrected to try to assassinate him.  S.H.I.E.L.D. is supposed to feature prominently, which might mean more Black Widow--and I really want to see her have her own picture in the near future.  We need more female superheroes making it onto the scene.

Thor: The Dark World was also announced.  While I'm excited about that, I'm not as excited as I could be because I haven't seen Thor, although it is on Netflix Instant, so I'll probably watch that soon.  I only hope that there's more Loki, as he was fantastic in The Avengers.

Iron Man 3 was also previewed.  I'm really interested in this movie, not just because I liked the first one (have not seen the second one), but also because it's being helmed by Shane Black.  I LOVE his movie Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, another movie featuring Robert Downey, Jr., and so this news has me intrigued and excited.  Apparently it was revealed that Mandarin is the villain (I don't know who that is), and they revealed Tony Stark's new Iron Man armor.  Some people bitched that it's mostly gold, but I don't really care.  It is surprising that they're breaking from the more traditional red top, gold bottom look, but I'm rather ambivalent.  It looks pretty nice.

The announcement of the Ant-Man movie was also confirmed.  Ant-Man is a superhero that can shrink down to near subatomic sizes.  Not the most flashy superpower--hardly super strength or speed--but quirky and slightly odd superheroes are right up director Edgar Wright's alley.  He's done Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, so I'm confident in his ability to do this.  Based on what I read on Simon Pegg's Twitter, once they've finished up work on The World's End, Wright will begin filming in 2013.

And the last interesting bit of news regarding Marvel is their announcement for a movie called Guardians of the Galaxy.  I know basically nothing about this, except for the concept art that was released, which I've included (click to enlarge).  I'll have a better opinion once I know a bit more.

Man of Steel

If you've followed my blog for a while, you'll know I'm a HUGE fan of Superman.  I wrote a reaction post to the news of Zach Snyder's Man of Steel, in which I explained my background with the red and blue superhero and what I thought of the movie news so far.  In summation: it was positive.

With that said, the news gets more and more interesting.  The picture in my previous post had me excited, but hid a key factor that I was not aware of--they got rid of Superman's red underwear.

On one hand, GOOD.  It looked silly.  Batman doesn't have the dark gray/black underwear in his movies, and his character was designed with the same idea, so why should Superman?  Besides, this is a gritty, Nolan-esque reboot.  Let's shoot for a more practical suit design. On the other hand, look at it (below).  Without the red in the middle, I kind of don't know where to look.  Also, not to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but I know from watching the behind-the-scenes stuff for Superman Returns that they did research on"package size" for Superman, to ensure that he wasn't too big or too small, because either would be distracting.  They apparently had no such concerns for this movie, because Superman looks like he's hauling a cannon around in his underoos.

I wish they'd taken after the comics, which also got rid of Superman's red underwear; however, they provided him instead with a red belt, which breaks the costume up in the same way as the underwear without looking as silly. You can see the image of Superman from DC's New 52 alongside the movie costume below.

I'll leave it to you to decide which looks better.  To be clear, I don't HATE the costume, unlike some, I just wish there'd been a little more break-up of the blue.  I don't even hate that the costume is made to be like Kryptonian chain-mail.  It all works for me.

Beyond the costume, there was, of course, more news regarding the new movie.  They released an extended cut of the trailer.  A bootleg was put online, but has since been taken down, so I haven't seen it.  There's supposed to be a shorter teaser before The Dark Knight Rises, yet another reason I have to go see that movie.

And from what I've heard, Snyder did a great job.  Some accounts disagree about the use of slow-mo, but all seem to agree that the movie is the least Snyder-looking of all of his films--which is a good thing in my opinion.  Too much slowdown would be really annoying.  It was okay in Watchmen, but 300 had it A LOT.

I'm glad that things seem to be shaping up well for this film, because Sucker Punch was awful, and I've been worried that Snyder might not be the guy for the job.  However, the film looks great, and I can't wait to see it.  For a breakdown of the trailer, go here.  For a few more articles about the movie itself, go here and here and here.

One final bit of info:  according to this article, this movie will attempt to make DC feel like an extended universe, like the Marvel movies did.  Particularly, they want to build up Wonder Woman.  Whether that means she'll get her own movie (hope so, see above thoughts on female superhero movies), or just a build up for the Justice League movie, it's interesting.  Here's hoping DC can get their act together and start showing Marvel a bit of competition, because so far it's been almost pathetic.

Dr. Horrible 2

Joss Whedon is a geek god.  He's the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Cabin in the Woods, as well as the writer and director of The Avengers.  One of my favorites that he's produced has to be Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.  It was created on a whim during the writers' strike and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and geek goddess Felicia Day.  It was a very short film (something like 45 minutes) and was released in 3 parts--divided by its three acts.  I think it's still available on Netflix Instant.  Go watch it now.

Fans have been clamoring for a sequel because the ending is...well...left open.  And after years of waiting and getting teased with "we're all just too busy, but we're working on it in our spare time" and "we've got some songs written, just waiting for the time to be right" we finally got some news on the sequel.  From G4TV:

The other big reveal that Whedon kicked off the panel with was the sequel for the online musical comedy, Dr. Horrible. Finally! Here's what we learned: production for Dr. Horrible 2 will start sometime in the spring, and they've been working on it for the past couple of years. The CW will also air Dr. Horrible in its entirety for its big television premiere! (See, people? You can find success on the Internet and then bring it to the big screen!)
(For those of you Browncoats, click this link to see the entire 10th anniversary Firefly panel if you love awesome things and/or want to see Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion cry.)


Jesus Flippin' Christ riding a dinosaur, are you serious??  Are you serious???  Yes!

I had recently read John Scalzi's newest novel Redshirts (which is fantastic and you totally need to pick it up).  There was a quote on the cover from an author named Joe Hill.  I kept hearing that name everywhere--especially from Scalzi.  In fact, Hill blurbed a lot of Scalzi's work.  It was clear that Scalzi thought a lot of Joe Hill's work, so I decided to give him a try.  While looking up books by him, I learned he's also Stephen King's son.  Stephen King has had a huge influence on me

This was the push over the edge.  I had to check him out.  So, I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up his novel Horns.   Here's the summary:
Merrin Williams is dead, slaughtered under inexplicable circumstances, leaving her beloved boyfriend Ignatius Perrish as the only suspect. On the first anniversary of Merrin's murder, Ig spends the night drunk and doing awful things. When he wakes the next morning he has a thunderous hangover . . . and horns growing from his temples. Ig possesses a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre gift he intends to use to find the monster who killed his lover. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. Now it's time for revenge . . .
It's time the devil had his due. . . .

Needless to say, the book was fantastic, a taut thrill ride.  However, just like his dad, Hill is really good at characterization. Both of them write more than just plot-driven stories; their characters read like real people.  I fell in love with Merrin and felt my heart break with Ig.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw:


Now, as excited as I am about this news, I looked up Alexandre Aja to see what movies he's directed.  Mirrors, The Hills Have Eyes remake, and Piranha remake.  I loved this book, and I really want this to be a good adaption, so I will have faith in this film.  I liked Mirrors...okay, and I've heard good things about Piranha--it's a cheesy horror-movie call back to the 80's.

I know that was a lot to read.  If you stuck it out this far, give yourself a gold star.  So, what do you think of the news that funneled out of Sand Diego?  Do any of these projects interest or excite you, or is there anything that happened that I didn't mention that you'd like to talk about?  Is there anything that doesn't excite you, or that I didn't mention that you'd like to complain about?  Let's continue this discussion in the comments.


* Don't get me started on 3D.  The same effect that's in Alice in Wonderland of the Mad Hatter throwing his top hat at the camera shows up in this movie.  Every damn movie these days has to throw shit at the screen.  All of those people that keep saying 3D is the future clearly don't pay attention to history.  It was around in the 30's, it was around in the 50's, it was around in the 80's, and it's back again.  I really hope it goes away soon.